Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
NEWLY appointed Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi, has said an analysis on energy and power consumption patterns is critical in bringing transparency towards addressing the prevailing electricity supply gap and persistent fuel shortages.
Declining water levels at Kariba Hydropower Station, which is the major source of electricity in Zimbabwe, as well as ageing equipment at the main thermal stations have resulted in a drop in power supply, forcing the power utility, Zesa, to introduce a 10-hour load shedding schedule. The situation has been compounded by prevailing foreign currency challenges that negatively affect importation of power to meet demand.
“We need to get a full and detailed analysis of consumption patterns for fuel and energy by organisations including Government departments so that we can see what sort of measures we can put in place to rein in unnecessary consumption and to ensure that the economy is a priority in terms of accessing power,” said minister.
“At the same time, we also need to do that to the extent that if possible, we can limit load shedding arrangement that is now in place.”
Minister Chasi said the task was a national challenge and required collective efforts by citizens to put national interest first. He said whatever decisions the Government will take should be evidence-based.
“Whatever decision we make must not be taken in a vacuum. What is necessary is that it must be evidence-based so I intend to engage all stakeholders so that we come up with measures that we have agreed to,” said the minister.
“So as Government we will expect Zesa to take its leadership role in the area of power and development and suggest the necessary measures that we need to have going forward.”
Minister Chasi also noted that the prevailing fuel shortages were now perennial and not good for the economy hence need to be addressed soon.
“We have been experiencing these perennial shortages repeatedly and they are definitely not good for the economy. Business cannot plan and so business continuity is affected and people sometimes have to be paid for just coming to work when there has been no production,” he said.
“We also need to do an analysis as Government to say precisely what is happening in the fuel industry. What are the challenges? I don’t believe that forex shortages are the only factors affecting the fuel situation in the country.”
Minister Chasi said the consumption side of fuel itself has got to be dealt with and that perceived malpractices have got to be identified and dealt with.
“We need order and transparency in that industry, which I believe we will be able to achieve as a country and resolve the shortages that we are having,” he said.